Edition for 08 June 2020

Top Stories

California Was Set To Spend Over $1 Billion to Prevent Wildfires. Then Came COVID-19 (NPR News)

  • Still recovering from devastating wildfires, California was poised to spend billions of dollars to prepare for future fires and other extreme weather disasters.
  • But with a $54 billion budget deficit, the programs are being put on hold.
  • Two other substantial climate initiatives were also put on hold in the Governor's revised budget, which would have funded projects to prepare for fires, droughts, floods and sea level rise.
  • California, like many states, is looking to federal stimulus funding to fill in the gaps, since climate-related projects could qualify as infrastructure spending. They're also looking at partnerships with private industry.

Sustainability still vital to firms despite challenges, say experts (Straits Times)

  • In fact, the crisis is highlighting the importance of embedding sustainability in a company, whether in terms of supply chains or even the impact a business may have on society.
  • The importance of such green financing is becoming more apparent, with the Monetary Authority of Singapore announcing last November that it had set up a US$2 billion (S$2.8 billion) programme for ESG-related investment, he added.
  • "The other bright spot for sustainable finance related to impact investment is the record-low interest rate, which makes several green investment options more viable."

'Everyone was watching': BlackRock is showing its hand on coal (The Age)

  • In a letter to investors the firm’s founder and chief executive Larry Fink said financial and climate risk had converged and that capital would soon start flowing away from fossil fuel industries.
  • As a result BlackRock – which has an eye watering $10 trillion in assets under management – would begin abandoning companies heavily invested in thermal coal and demanding that companies report their exposure to climate change risks, their contribution to emissions and their plans to reduce them.
  • Due to its sheer size BlackRock is one of the world’s largest investors in fossil fuels and it has a history of opposing shareholder resolutions demanding climate change action. Was this corporate greenwashing, or would BlackRock really act?

Africa: Despite the Pandemic, Frontline Nations Push Ahead On Stronger Climate Plans (AllAfrica News)

  • The coronavirus pandemic may have delayed the 2020 U.N. climate summit by a year, but for Jamaica, COVID-19 was no reason to stall delivering a stronger climate action plan, just completed as the Atlantic hurricane season starts.
  • Una May Gordon, director of the climate change division at the island's Ministry of Economic Growth and Job Creation, said the Caribbean nation aimed to submit its updated "nationally determined contribution" (NDC) to the global effort to battle climate change later this month, after approval by the cabinet.
  • "Climate change is our most pressing challenge over the long-term," she said, noting that 2019 was the second-hottest year on record, with losses from climate-related disasters costing $150 billion last year and expected to rise in future.

Surging renewables, COVID-19 pile more pressure on coal (The Age)

  • Independent modelling from global energy giant Schneider Electric, the nation's largest corporate energy adviser, forecasts that wind, solar and hydro power's share of the main grid will surge as much as 6 percentage points this year – from 21 to 27 per cent – and could exceed 30 per cent by the end of 2021.
  • The Clean Energy Council, a renewable energy group, said investors had given the green light to an unprecedented number of new renewable energy projects in 2017-18, many of which were now approaching completion.
  • The falling cost of renewables is paving the way for private investment into large scale renewable projects.

VOX Cinemas and Tesla host region’s first carbon-neutral drive-in cinema screening (TechRadar)

  • Majid Al Futtaim, in collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE) and VOX Cinemas celebrated World Environment Day by hosting the region’s first carbon neutral drive-in movie screening for Tesla cars. 
  • The company also announced it is partnering with Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence to offset the carbon emissions from all VOX Cinemas Drive-In screenings.
  • The special screening, which took place at VOX Cinemas Drive-In on the rooftop of Mall of the Emirates, was attended by the UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, along with over 100 movie enthusiasts in their Tesla electric cars.

Self-Driving Vehicles for Urban Mobility Deployed in European Smart Cities (Interesting Engineering)

  • An autonomous public transit service has already started its testing and will complete tests in real conditions in five European countries under a European Union initiative, part of the Horizon 2020 EU Research and Innovation Programme, between April and October 2020.
  • The adoption of self-driving buses in smart cities means there will be a significant reduction of carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • Autonomous buses have a well-balanced mobility system based on the concept of co-modality, and they foster the general longer-term goal of sustainable and liveable cities.

Capitalism needs the ‘Great Reset’ button. Covid-19 is showing the way (ThePrint)

  • Left unaddressed, these crises, together with COVID-19, will deepen and leave the world even less sustainable, less equal, and more fragile.
  • The second component of a Great Reset agenda would ensure that investments advance shared goals, such as equality and sustainability.
  • Rather than using these funds, as well as investments from private entities and pension funds, to fill cracks in the old system, we should use them to create a new one that is more resilient, equitable, and sustainable in the long run.

The Climate Sentinel is an AI-powered news assistant for ESG investors and those concerned about climate change, corporate social responsibility, and related topics. Learn more.

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